Organized by the Blanton Museum of Art, Form into Spirit: Ellsworth Kelly’s “Austin” explores the artist’s monumental last work, Austin, a freestanding stone building with luminous colored glass windows that is now part of the Blanton’s permanent collection.
The structure’s conceptual roots were planted in the seminal period Kelly spent in France (1948-1954). The artist, who passed away in 2015, managed to move within both French and American art circles, meeting the likes of Pablo Picasso, Jean Arp and Joan Miró, as well as Agnes Martin, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Yet the architecture and fenestrations of the French capital could have had as a great an impact on Kelly’s art as his encounters with these fellow artists.
Rarely seen early paintings and drawings fuse Judeo-Christian themes with the artist’s own modern aesthetic, making clear Austin’s decades-long germination.